Hello Dolly!

Welcome to George vs the Listener – I’ve resisted looking at the other blogs or the solution for 9 to 5 by Zag, even though I know it came out yesterday.  Got really caught up in the day job and then went straight to a They Might Be Giants concert, so a couple of crazy days.  TMBG are still a great show, for a band that was big when I was in university.  Geek rock doesn’t age… no “Ana Ng” but they did break out “Don’t Let’s Start”, “Istanbul (not Constantinople)”, “Birdhouse In Your Soul” from the classics list along with some new ones.

Oh yes, there’s a Listener I was meant to have written about already, wasn’t there.  9 to 5 by Zag.  We last saw Zag early last year with Bias and the story of the Seven Sages.  Lots of mutated words from the wordplay there.   In this one it looks like we have real words in the grid and thematic columns and all sorts of different types of clues to give unchecked letters in the columns and two other normal clues.  Looks tricky – I started off writing the types of clues to the side.

My first instincts was that this looks tricky, having to sort out five types of clues.

There was a 1 across, but my attention was drawn to the two italicized clues – would they drop a hint?  Well they have 9 and 5 in them… but they’re both easy solves – SA,V,ANT and UN(it),IX (a word I use almost daily).  So let’s work around them…   UNIX crosses S,HUNT and so we have an extra F in the definition.  It also crosses DANDELION (misprint F in wordplay) and this is starting to look less daunting. In fact by the end of my lunch break I had most of the left hand side clues solved, and since I knew all of the definition +1 letters, but one, HALF OF TWELVE was looking like a contender for 7 down.

Aaaaah… HALF OF TWELVE is 6, and the title is 9 to 5, so I wonder if column 7 (where I have about half the entries) works out to be another of the numbers… NINE MINUS TWO.  And it’s just before the 7 column, so maybe they are 9 8 7 6 5 in the five 12-letter downs?

Works for 10 – TEN INTO FIFTY… so now I have a full right hand side of the grid, a half-finished left side, and I think I’ve got the theme. Executive decision – let’s not end lunch right now, I may be able to knock this out in one session!

I got a couple of the left-hand side answers (SEXTET, HIRONS becoming HERONS) from figuring the theme and getting FOUR PLUS FOUR and THREE SQUARED for the left two long columns.  At the end of extended lunch, we are all done.  Pat on back time!

My working grid for Listener 4234, 9 to 5 by ZagAnd then life got crazy, and instead of making a clean copy to send off straight away, I forgot about it or didn’t have time until it was probably too late to get it to Green Lane in time to get comments back to Zag.  So if you’re checking in, Zag, hi – hope you got the letter, and this was really fun – I liked how every clue contributed to the overall theme.

Now to check if I really can call this a Victory to George…

It appears I can – woohoo!

Things start to even out a little after Tuesday of this week, so maybe I’ll be back on track on Friday, so please feel free to tell me the virtues of not procrastinating (or tell me when you get around to it), and see you next week when Ron gives us a taste of his chromosomes.


One Response

  1. “Ron gives us a taste of his chromosomes”… conjures up an image I’d rather not have!

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